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The Boundaries of Natural Science

Boundaries of Natural Science: Lecture VIII

Schmidt Number: S-4240

On-line since: 31st July, 2007

VIII

Yesterday I attempted to show the methods employed by Eastern spirituality for approaching the spiritual world and pointed out how anybody who wished to pursue this path into the super-sensible more or less dispensed with the bridge linking him with his fellow men. He chose a path different from that which establishes communication within society by means of language, thought, and perception of the ego. And I showed how it was initially attempted not to understand through the word what one's fellow man wished to say, what one wants to understand from him, but to live within the words. This process of living within the word was enhanced by forming the words into certain aphorisms. One lived in these and repeated them, so that the forces accrued in the soul by this process were strengthened further by repetition. And I showed how something was achieved in the condition of the soul that might be called a state of Inspiration, in the sense in which I have used the word, except that the sages of the ancient East were, of course, members of their race: their ego-consciousness was much less developed than in later epochs of human evolution. They thus entered into the spiritual world in a more instinctive manner, and because the whole thing was instinctive and thus resulted, in a sense, from a healthy drive within human nature, in the earliest times it could not lead to the pathological afflictions of which we have also spoken. In later times steps were taken by the so-called Mysteries to guard against the rise of such afflictions as I have described to you. I said that those Westerners who desire to gain knowledge of the spiritual world must approach this in another way. Humanity has progressed in the interim. Different soul faculties have evolved, so that one cannot simply renew the ancient Eastern path of spiritual development. Within the realm of spiritual life one cannot long to return in a reactionary manner to prehistoric or earlier historical periods of human evolution. For Western civilization, the path leading into the spiritual worlds is that of Imagination. This faculty of Imagination, however, must be integrated organically into the life of the soul as a whole. This can come about in the most varied ways, just as the Eastern path of development was not unequivocally predetermined but could take numerous different courses. Today I would like to describe the path into the spiritual world that conforms to the needs of Western civilization and is particularly suited to anyone immersed in the scientific life of the West.

In my book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, I have described an entirely safe path leading to the super-sensible, but I describe it in such a way that it applies for everybody, above all for those who have not devoted their lives to science. Today I shall describe a path into the super-sensible that is much more for the scientist. All my experience has taught me that for such a scientist a kind of precondition for this cognitional striving is to take up what is presented in my book, Philosophy of Freedom. I will explain what I mean by this. This book, Philosophy of Freedom, was not written with the same intent as most books written today. Nowadays books are written simply in order to inform the reader of the book's subject matter, so that the reader learns the book's contents in accordance with his education, his scientific training, or the special knowledge he already possesses. This was not my primary Intention in writing Philosophy of Freedom, and thus it will not be popular with those who read books only to acquire Information. The purpose of the book is to make the reader directly engage his thinking activity on every page.

In a sense, the book is only a kind of musical score that one must read with inner thought activity in order to progress, as the result of one's own efforts, from one thought to the next. The book constantly presupposes the mental collaboration of the reader. Moreover, the book presupposes that which the soul becomes in the process of such mental exertion. Anyone who has really worked through this book with his own inner thinking activity and cannot confess that he has come to know himself in a part of his inner life in which he had not known himself previously has not read Philosophy of Freedom properly. One should feel that one is being lifted out of one's usual thinking [Vorstellen] into a thinking independent of the senses [ein sinnlichkeitsfreies Denken], in which one is fully immersed, so that one feels free of the conditions of physical existence. Whoever cannot confess this to himself has actually misunderstood the book. One should be able to say to oneself: now I know, as a result of the inner thought activity I myself have expended, what pure thinking actually is.

The strange thing is that most Western philosophers totally deny the reality of the very thing that my Philosophy of Freedom seeks to awaken as something real in the soul of the reader. Countless philosophers have expounded the view that pure thinking does not exist but is bound to contain traces, however diluted, of sense perception. A strong impression is left that philosophers who maintain this have never really studied mathematics or gone into the difference between analytical and empirical mechanics. Specialization, however, has already grown to such an extent that nowadays philosophy is often pursued by people totally lacking any knowledge of mathematical thinking. The pursuit of philosophy is actually impossible without a grasp of at least the spirit of mathematical thinking. We have seen what Goethe's attitude was toward this spirit of mathematical thinking, even though he made no claim himself to any special training in mathematics. Many thus would deny the existence of the very faculty I would like those who study The Philosophy of Freedom to acquire.

And now let us imagine a reader who simply sets about working through The Philosophy of Freedom within the context of his ordinary consciousness in the way I have described: he will, of course, not be able to claim that he has been transported into a super-sensible world. For I intentionally wrote The Philosophy of Freedom in the way that I did so that it would present itself to the world initially as a purely philosophical work. Just think what a disservice would have been accorded anthroposophically oriented spiritual science if I had begun immediately with spiritual scientific writings! These writings would, of course, have been disregarded by all trained philosophers as the worst kind of dilettantism, as the efforts of an amateur. To begin with I had to write purely philosophically. I had to present the world with something thought out philosophically in the strict sense, though it transcended the normal bounds of philosophy. At some point, however, the transition had to be made from a merely philosophical and scientific kind of writing to a spiritual scientific writing. This occurred at a time when I was invited to write a special chapter about Goethe's scientific writings for a German biography of Goethe. This was at the end of the last century, in the 1890s. And so I was to write the chapter on Goethe's scientific writings: I had, in fact, finished it and sent it to the publisher when there appeared another work of mine, called Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age. The book was a bridge between pure philosophy and an anthroposophical orientation. When this work came out, my manuscript was returned to me by the publisher, who had enclosed nothing but my fee so that I would not make a fuss, for thereby the legal obligations had been met. Among the learned pedants, there was obviously no interest in anything — not even a single chapter devoted to the development of Goethe's attitude toward natural science written by one who had authored this book on mysticism.

I will now assume that The Philosophy of Freedom has been worked through already with one's ordinary consciousness in the way described. Now we are in the right frame of mind for our souls to undertake in a healthy way what I described yesterday, if only very briefly, as the path leading into Imagination. It is possible to pursue this path in a way consonant with Western life if we attempt to surrender ourselves completely to the world of outer phenomena, so that we allow them to work upon us without thinking about them but still perceiving them. In ordinary waking life, you will agree, we are constantly perceiving, but actually in the very process of doing so we are continually saturating our percepts with concepts; in scientific thinking we interweave percepts and concepts entirely systematically, building up systems of concepts and so on. By having acquired the capacity for the kind of thinking that gradually emerges from The Philosophy of Freedom, one can become capable of such acute inner activity that one can exclude and suppress conceptual thinking from the process of perception and surrender oneself to bare percepts. But there is something else we can do in order to strengthen the forces of the soul and absorb percepts unelaborated by concepts. One can, moreover, refrain from formulating the judgments that arise when these percepts are joined to concepts and create instead symbolic images, or images of another sort, alongside the images seen by the eye, heard by the ear, and rendered by the senses of warmth, touch, and so on. If we thus bring our activity of perception into a state of flux, infusing it with life and movement, not as we do when forming concepts but by elaborating perception symbolically or artistically, we will develop much sooner the power of allowing the percepts to permeate us as such. An excellent preparation for this kind of cognition is to school oneself rigorously in what I have characterized as phenomenalism, as elaboration of phenomena. If one has really striven not to allow inertia to carry one through the veil of sense perception upon reaching the boundary of the material world, in order to look for all kinds of metaphysical explanations in terms of atoms and molecules, but has instead used concepts to set the phenomena in order and follow them through to the archetypal phenomena, one has already undergone a training that enables one to isolate the phenomena from everything conceptual. And if one still symbolizes the phenomena, turns them into images, one acquires a potent soul forte enabling one to absorb the external world free from concepts.

Obviously we cannot expect to achieve this quickly. Spiritual research demands of us far more than research in a laboratory or observatory. It demands above all an intense effort of the individual will. If one has practiced such an inner representation of symbolic images for a certain length of time and striven in addition to dwell contemplatively upon images that one keeps present in the soul in a way analogous to the mental representation of phenomena, images that otherwise only pass away when we race from sensation to sensation, from experience to experience; if one has accustomed oneself to dwell contemplatively for longer and longer periods of time upon an image that one has fully understood, that one has formed oneself or taken at somebody else's suggestion so that it cannot be a reminiscence, and if one repeats this process again and again, one strengthens one's inner soul forces and finally realizes that one experiences something of which one previously had no inkling. The only way to obtain even an approximate idea of such an experience, which takes place only in one's inner being — one must be very careful not to misunderstand this — is to recall particularly lively dream-images. One must keep in mind, however, that dream-images are always reminiscences that can never be related directly to anything external and are thus a sort of reaction coming toward one out of one's own inner self. If one experiences to the full the images formed in the way described above, this is something entirely real, and one begins to understand that one is encountering within oneself the spiritual element that actuates the processes of growth, that is the power of growth. One realizes that one has entered into apart of one's human constitution, something within one; something that unites itself with one; something that is active within but that one previously had experienced only unconsciously. Experienced unconsciously in what way?

I have told you that from birth until the change of teeth a soul-spiritual entity is at work structuring the human being and that this then emancipates itself to an extent. Later, between the change of teeth and puberty, another such soul-spiritual entity, which dips down in a way into the physical body, awakens the erotic drives and much else as well. All this occurs unconsciously. If, however, we use fully consciously such measures of soul as I have described to observe this permeation of the physical organism by the soul-spiritual, one sees how such processes work within man and how man is actually given over to the external world continually, from birth onward. Nowadays this giving-over of oneself to the external world is held to be nothing but abstract perception or abstract cognition. This is not so. We are surrounded by a world of color, sound, and warmth and by all kinds of sense impressions, By elaborating these with our concepts we create yet further impressions that have an effect on us. By experiencing all this consciously we come to see that in the unconscious experience of color- and sound-impressions that we have from childhood onward there is something spiritual that suffuses our organization. And when, for example, we take up the sense of love between the change of teeth and puberty, this is not something originating in the physical body but rather something that the cosmos gives us through the colors, sounds, and streaming warmth that reach us. Warmth is something other than warmth; light something other than light in the physical sense; sound is something other than physical sound. Through our sense impressions we are conscious only of what I would term external sound and external color. And when we surrender ourselves to nature, we do not encounter the ether-waves, atoms, and so on of which modern physics and physiology dream; rather, it is spiritual forces that are at work, forces that fashion us between birth and death into what we are as human beings. Once we tread the path of knowledge I have described, we become aware that it is the external world that forms us. We become best able to observe consciously what lives and embodies itself within us when we acquire above all a clear sense that spirit is at work in the external world. lt is of all things phenomenology that enables us to perceive how spirit works within the external world. It is through phenomenology, and not abstract metaphysics, that we attain knowledge of the spirit by consciously observing, by raising to consciousness, what otherwise we would do unconsciously, by observing how, through the sense world, spiritual forces enter our being and work formatively upon it.

Yesterday I pointed out to you that the Eastern sage in a way disregards the significance of Speech, thought, and the perception of the ego. He experiences these things differently and cultivates a different attitude of soul toward these things, because language, perception of thoughts, and perception of the ego initially tend to lead us away from the spiritual world into social contact with other human beings. In everyday physical existence we purchase our social life at the price of listening right through language, looking through thoughts, and feeling our way right through the perception of the ego. The Eastern sage took upon himself not to listen right through the word but to live within it. He took upon himself not to look right through the thought but to live within the thought, and so forth. We in the West have as our task more to contemplate man himself in following the path into super-sensible worlds.

At this point it must be remembered that man bears a certain kind of sensory organization within as well. I have already described the three inner senses through which he becomes aware of his inner being, just as he perceives what goes on outside him. We have a sense of balance by means of which we sense the spatial orientation appropriate to us as human beings and are thereby able to work inside it with our will. We have a sense of movement by means of which we know that we are moving even in the dark: we know this from an inner sensing and not merely because we perceive our changing relationship to other objects we pass. We have an actual inner sense of movement. And we have a sense of life, by means of which we can perceive our general state of well-being, the constant changes in the inner condition of our life forces. These three inner senses work together with the will during man's first seven years. We are guided by our sense of balance, and a being who initially cannot move at all and later can only crawl is transformed into one who can stand upright and walk. This ability to walk upright is effected by the sense of balance, which places us into the world. The sense of movement and the sense of life likewise contribute toward the development of our full humanity. Anybody who is capable of applying the standards of objective observation employed in the scientist's laboratory to the development of man's physical body and his soul-spirit will soon discover how the forces that worked formatively upon man principally during the fast seven years emancipate themselves and begin to assume a different aspect from the time of the change of teeth onward. By this time a person is less intensively connected to that within than he was as a child. A child is closely bound up inwardly with human equilibrium, movement, and life. Something else, however, is evolving simultaneously during this emancipation of balance, movement, and life. There takes place a certain adjustment of the three other senses: the senses of smell, taste, and touch. It is extremely interesting to observe in detail the way in which a child gradually finds his way into life, orienting himself by means of the senses of taste, smell, and touch. Of course, this can be seen most obviously in early life, but anybody trained to do so can see it clearly enough later on as well. In a certain way, the child pushes out of himself balance, movement, and life but at the same time draws more into himself the qualities of the sense of smell, the sense of taste, and the sense of touch. In the course of an extended phase of development the one is, so to speak, exhaled and the other inhaled, so that the forces of balance, movement, and life, which press from within outward, and the qualitative orientations of smell, taste, and touch, which press from without inward, meet within our organism. This is effected by the interpenetration of the two sense-triads. As a result of this interpenetration, there arises within man a firm sense of self; in this way man First experiences himself as a true ego. Now we are cut off from the spirituality of the external world by speech and by our faculties of perceiving thoughts and perceiving the egos of others — and rightly so, for if it were otherwise we could never in this physical life become social beings — in just the same way, inasmuch as the qualities of smell, taste, and touch encounter balance, movement, and life, we are inwardly cut off from the triad life, movement, and balance, which would otherwise reveal itself to us directly. The experiences of the senses of smell, taste, and touch place themselves, as it were, in front of what we would otherwise experience through our sense of balance, our sense of movement, and our sense of life. And the result of this development toward Imagination of which I have spoken consists in this: the Oriental comes to a halt at language in order to live within it; he halts at the thought in order to live there; he halts at the perception of the ego in order to live within it. By these means he makes his way outward into the spiritual world. The Oriental comes to a halt within these; we, by striving for Imagination, by a kind of absorption of external percepts devoid of concepts, engage in an activity that is in a way the opposite of that in which the Oriental engages with regard to language, perception of thoughts, and perception of the ego. The Oriental comes to a halt at these and enters into them. In striving for Imagination, however, one wends one's way through the sensations of smell, taste, and touch, penetrating into the inner realm so that, by one's remaining undisturbed by sensations of smell, taste, and touch, the experiences stemming from balance, movement, and life come forth to meet one.

It is a great moment when one has penetrated through what I have described as the sense-triad of taste, smell, and touch, and one confronts the naked essence of movement, balance, and life.

With such a preparation behind us, it is interesting to study what Western mysticism often sets forth. Most certainly, I am very far from decrying the elements of poetry, beauty, and imaginative expression in the writings of many mystics. I most certainly admire what, for instance, St. Theresa, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and others have to tell us, and indeed Meister Eckhart and Johannes Tauler. But all that arises in this way reveals itself to the true spiritual scientist as something that arises when one traverses the inward-leading path yet does not penetrate beyond the region of smell, taste, and touch. Read what has been written by individuals who have described with particular clarity what they have experienced in this way. They speak of a tasting of that within, of a tasting regarding what exists as soul-spirit in man's inner being; they also speak of a smelling and, in a certain sense, of a touching. And anybody who knows how to read Mechthild of Magdeburg, for instance, or St. Theresa, in the right way will see that they follow this inward path but never penetrate right through taste, smell, and touch. They use beautiful poetic imagery for their descriptions, but they are speaking only of how one can touch, savor, and sniff oneself inwardly.

For it is far less agreeable to see the true nature of reality with senses that are developed truly spiritually than to read the accounts given by voluptuous mysticism — the only term for it — which in the final analysis only gratifies a refined, inward-looking egotism of soul. As I say, much as this mysticism is to be admired — and I do admire it — the true spiritual scientist must realize that it stops halfway: what is manifest in the splendid poetic imagery of Mechthild of Magdeburg, St. Theresa, and the others is really only what is smelt, tasted, and touched before breaking through into the actual inner realm. Truth is occasionally unpleasant, and at times perhaps even cruel, but modern humanity has no business becoming rickety in soul by following a nebulous, imperfect mysticism. What is required today is to penetrate into man's true inner nature with strength of spirit, with the same strength we have achieved in a much more disciplined way for the external world by pursuing natural science. And it is not in vain that we have achieved this. Natural science must not be undervalued! Indeed, we must seek to acquire the disciplined and methodical side of natural science. And it is precisely when one has assimilated this scientific method that one appreciates the achievements of a nebulous mysticism at their true worth, but one also knows that this nebulous mysticism is not what spiritual science must foster. On the contrary, the task of spiritual science is to seek clear comprehension of man's own inner being, whereby a clear, spiritual understanding of the external world is made possible in turn.

I know that if I did not speak in the way that truth demands I could enjoy the support of every nebulous, blathering mystic who takes up mysticism in order to satisfy his voluptuous soul. That cannot be our concern here, however; rather, we must seek forces that can be used for life, spiritual forces that are capable of informing our scientific and social life.

When one has penetrated as far as that which lives in the sense of balance, the sense of life, and the sense of movement, one has reached something that one experiences initially as the true inner being of man because of its transparency. The very nature of the thing shows us that we cannot penetrate any deeper. But then again one has more than enough at this initial stage, for what we discover is not the stuff of nebulous, mystical dreams. What one finds is a true organology, and above all one finds within oneself the essence of that which is within equilibrium, of that which is in movement, of that which is suffused with life. One finds this within oneself.

Then, after experiencing this, something entirely extraordinary has occurred. Then, at the appropriate moment, one begins to notice something. An essential prerequisite is, as I have said, to have thought through The Philosophy of Freedom beforehand. This is then left, so to speak, to one side, while pursuing the inner path of contemplation, of meditation. One has advanced as far as balance, movement, and life. One lives within this life, this movement, this balance. Entirely parallel with our pursuit of the way of contemplation and meditation but without any other activity on our part, our thinking regarding The Philosophy of Freedom has undergone a transformation. What can be experienced in such a philosophy of freedom in pure thinking has, as a result of our having worked inwardly on our souls in another sphere, become something utterly different. lt has become fuller, richer in content. While on the one hand we have penetrated into our inner being and have deepened our power of Imagination, on the other hand we have raised what resulted from our mental work on The Philosophy of Freedom up out of ordinary consciousness. Thoughts that formerly had floated more or less abstractly within pure thinking have been transformed into substantial forces that are alive in our consciousness: what once was pure thought is now Inspiration. We have developed Imagination, and pure thinking has become Inspiration. Following this path further, we become able to keep apart what we have gained following two paths that must be sharply differentiated: on the one hand, what we have obtained as Inspiration from pure thinking — the life that at a lower level is thinking, and then becomes a thinking raised to Inspiration — and on the other hand what we experience as conditions of equilibrium, movement, and life. Now we can bring these modes of experience together. We can unite the inner with the outer. The fusion of Imagination and Inspiration brings us in turn to Intuition. What have we accomplished now? Well, I would like to answer this question by approaching it from another side. First of all I must draw attention to the steps taken by the Oriental who wishes to rise further after having schooled himself by means of the mantras, after having lived within the language, within the word. He now learns not only to live in the rhythms of language but also in a certain way to experience breathing consciously, in a certain way to experience breathing artificially by altering it in the most varied ways. For him this is the next highest step — but again not something that can be taken over directly by the West. What does the Eastern student of yoga attain by surrendering himself to conscious, regulated, varied breathing? Oh, he experiences something quite extraordinary when he inhales. When inhaling he experiences a quality of air that is not found when we experience air as a purely physical substance but only when we unite ourselves with the air and thus comprehend it spiritually. As he breathes in, a genuine student of yoga experiences something that works formatively upon his whole being, that works spiritually; something that does not expend itself in the life between birth and death, but, entering into us through the spirituality of the outer air, engenders in us something that passes with us through the portal of death. To experience the breathing process consciously means taking part in something that persists when we have laid aside the physical body. For to experience the breathing process consciously is to experience the reaction of our inner being to inhalation. In experiencing this we experience something that preceded birth in our existence as soul-spirit — or let us say preceded our conception — something that had already cooperated in shaping us as embryos and then continued to work within our organism in childhood. To grasp the breathing process consciously means to comprehend ourselves beyond birth and death. The advance from an experience of the aphorism and the word to an experience of the breathing process represented a further penetration into an inspired comprehension of the eternal in man. We Westerners must experience much the same thing — but in a different sphere.

What, in fact, is the process of perception? It is nothing but a modified process of inhalation. As we breathe in, the air presses upon our diaphragm and upon the whole of our being. Cerebral fluid is forced up through the spinal column into the brain. In this way a connection is established between breathing and cerebral activity. And the part of the breathing that can be discerned as active within the brain works upon our sense activity as perception. Perception is thus a kind of branch of inhalation. In exhalation, on the other hand, cerebral fluid descends and exerts pressure on the circulation of the blood. The descent of cerebral fluid is bound up with the activity of the will and also of exhalation. Anybody who really studies The Philosophy of Freedom, however, will discover that when we achieve pure thinking, thinking and willing coincide. Pure thinking is fundamentally an expression of will. Thus pure thinking turns out to be related to what the Oriental experienced in the process of exhalation. Pure thinking is related to exhalation just as perception is related to inhalation. We have to go through the same process as the yogi but in a way that is, so to speak, pushed back more into the inner life. Yoga depends upon a regulation of the breathing, both inhalation and exhalation, and in this way comes into contact with the eternal in man. What can Western man do? He can raise into clear soul experiences perception on the one hand and thinking on the other. He can unite in his inner experience perception and thinking, which are otherwise united only abstractly, formally, and passively, so that inwardly, in his soul-spirit, he has the same experience as he has physically in breathing in and out. Inhalation and exhalation are physical experiences: when they are harmonized, one consciously experiences the eternal. In everyday life we experience thinking and perception. By bringing mobility into the life of the soul, one experiences the pendulum, the rhythm, the continual interpenetrating vibration of perception and thinking. A higher reality evolves for the Oriental in the process of inhalation and exhalation; the Westerner achieves a kind of breathing of the soul-spirit in place of the physical breathing of the yogi. He achieves this by developing within himself the living process of modified inhalation in perception and modified exhalation in pure thinking, by weaving together concept, thinking, and perceiving. And gradually, by means of this rhythmic pulse, by means of this rhythmic breathing process in perception and thinking, he struggles to rise up to spiritual reality in Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition. And when I indicated in my book The Philosophy of Freedom, at first only philosophically, that reality arises out of the interpenetration of perception and thinking, I intended, because the book was meant as a schooling for the soul, to show what Western man can do in order to enter the spiritual world itself. The Oriental says: systole, diastole; inhalation, exhalation. In place of these the Westerner must put perception and thinking. Where the Oriental speaks of the development of physical breathing, we in the West say: development of a breathing of the soul-spirit within the cognitional process through perception and thinking.

All this had to be contrasted with what can be experienced as a kind of dead end in Western spiritual evolution. Let me explain what I mean. In 1841 Michelet, the Berlin philosopher, published posthumously Hegel's works on natural philosophy. Hegel had worked at the end of the eighteenth century, together with Schelling, at laying the foundations of a system of natural philosophy. Schelling, as a young firebrand, had constructed his natural philosophy in a remarkable way out of what he called “intellectual Intuition” [intellektuale Anschauung]. He reached a point, however, where he could make no further progress. He immersed himself in the mystics at a certain point. His work, Bruno, or Concerning the Divine and Natural Principle in Things, and his fine treatise on human freedom and the origin of evil testify so wonderfully to this immersion. But for all this he could make no progress and began to hold back from expressing himself at all. He kept promising to follow up with a philosophy that would reveal the true nature of those hidden forces at which his earlier natural philosophy had only hinted. When Michelet published Hegel's natural philosophy in 1841, Schelling's long-expected and oft-promised “philosophy of revelation” had still not been vouchsafed to the public. He was summoned to Berlin. What he h ad to offer, however, was not the actual spirit that was to permeate the natural philosophy he had founded. He had striven for an intellectual intuition. He ground to a halt at this point, because he was unable to use Imagination to enter the sphere of which I spoke to you today. And so he was stuck there. Hegel, who had a more rational intellect, had taken over Schelling's thoughts and carried them further by applying pure thinking to the observation of nature. That was the origin of Hegel's natural philosophy. And so one had Schelling's unfulfilled promise to bring forth nature out of the spirit, and then one had Hegel's natural philosophy, which was discarded by science in the second half of the nineteenth century. It was misunderstood, to be sure, but it was bound to remain so, because it was impossible to gain any kind of connection to the ideas contained in Hegel's natural philosophy with regard to phenomenology, the true observation of nature. It is a kind of wonderful incident: Schelling traveling from Munich to Berlin, where great things are expected of him, and it turns out that he has nothing to say. It was a disappointment for all who believed that through Hegel's natural philosophy revelations about nature would emerge from pure thinking. Thus it was in a way demonstrated historically, in that Schelling had attained the level of intellectual intuition but not that of genuine Imagination and in that Hegel showed as well that if pure thinking does not lead on to Imagination or to Inspiration — that is, to the level of nature's secrets ... it was shown that the evolution of the West had thereby run up against a dead end. There was as yet nothing to counter what had come over from the Orient and engendered skepticism; one could counter with nothing that was suffused with the spirit. And anyone who had immersed himself lovingly in Schelling and Hegel and has thus been able to see, with love in his heart, the limitations of Western philosophy, had to strive for anthroposophy. He had to strive to bring about an anthroposophically oriented spiritual science for the West, so that we will possess something that works creatively in the spirit, just as the East had worked in the spirit through systole and diastole in their interaction. We in the West can allow perception and thinking to resound through one another in the soul-spirit [das geistig-seelische Ineinanderklingenlassen], through which we can rise to something more than a merely abstract science. It opens the way to a living science, which is the only kind of science that enables us to dwell within the element of truth. After all the failures of the Kantian, Schellingian, and Hegelian philosophies, we need a philosophy that, by revealing the way of the spirit, can show the real relationship between truth and science, a spiritualized science, in which truth can really live to the great benefit of future human evolution.




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